Slings and Arrows

Gothampc
Broadway Legend
joined:5/20/03
Slings and Arrows
Posted: 4/6/12 at 10:15am
For those of you who have worked in theater, or who just love theater, or who love Shakespeare and have Netflix, I want to recommend the Canadian tv series Slings and Arrows.

The premise of the show is a look at how a regional theater gets a show up and running. And there's also a little "Blithe Spirit" mixed in. Having worked in regional theater myself, I know that these writers really did work in theater because some of the situations are true to life.

The show stars Paul Gross (Brian from Tales of the City) and Mark McKinney (Kids in the Hall) and a cast of perfectly cast actors.

By design, the series ran for three seasons and each seasons chooses a different Shakespeare play. Season 1 (Hamlet), Season 2 (Macbeth), Season 3 (King Lear). We see the cast during rehearsals, but the wonderful part is that we see some quick scenes from these plays performed by very talented Canadian actors.

So put "Smash" on your dvr for another day and watch Slings and Arrows.
If anyone ever tells you that you put too much Parmesan cheese on your pasta, stop talking to them. You don't need that kind of negativity in your life.
wonkit
Broadway Legend
joined:9/30/08
Slings and Arrows
Posted: 4/6/12 at 05:12pm
I enthusiastically second that motion. One of the most captivating and well-written theater series ever.
StayStayAndLoveMe
Swing
joined:2/3/12
Slings and Arrows
Posted: 4/6/12 at 05:27pm
This series does everything right that SMASH does wrong. It is a must watch.
macnyc
Broadway Legend
joined:7/26/08
Slings and Arrows
Posted: 4/6/12 at 05:47pm
I have it on my Netflix queue, and I just bumped it up to the No. 1 spot. Looking forward to it!
themysteriousgrowl
Broadway Legend
joined:11/10/10
Slings and Arrows
Posted: 4/6/12 at 06:08pm

You're an unconscionable ass-hat, but it is a great series.
CHURCH DOOR TOUCAN GAY MARKETING PUPPIES MUSICAL THEATER STAPLES PERIOD CUM OIL
lull89
Broadway Star
joined:10/12/08
Slings and Arrows
Posted: 4/6/12 at 07:01pm
For anyone with Amazon Prime, it's streaming for free there. Used to be on Netflix Instant, hopefully it's back there at some point, too.
Gothampc
Broadway Legend
joined:5/20/03
Slings and Arrows
Posted: 4/10/12 at 10:33am
For those of you who have seen Season 3:

I love how they did a satire of Rent. The writers really had that phenomenon pegged.

If anyone ever tells you that you put too much Parmesan cheese on your pasta, stop talking to them. You don't need that kind of negativity in your life.
Updated On: 4/10/12 at 10:33 AM
temms
Broadway Star
joined:7/21/04
Slings and Arrows
Posted: 4/10/12 at 01:55pm
****THIRD SEASON SPOILERS****

I loved the series, but I actually thought the "Rent" stuff was the weakest and the most out-of-tone with the rest of the series. I know that bad/mediocre things happen and are successful all the time, but it just strained a bit of credibility for me that something so obviously insincere would do so well at such an otherwise good theatre. I mean, at least Jonathan Larson was writing about something he felt strongly about and lived, regardless of what you feel about the final outcome. I didn't get that anybody took their work to the level of something like "Rent" - the whole creative team kind of came off as pretentious hacks which was such an easy target. Especially since the rest of the series was so true to what artists really go through while tackling works of genius. It seemed like a cheap shot to try to use that as the balance against the brilliance of the "Lear" plot. A small quibble, but one that bothered me a bit.

Especially since there's so much in that third season that really gets to the absolute heart of the life of a theatre artist. I haven't watched it in forever, but I still remember the two older actors consoling the young actress who played Regan after the failed opening of "Lear" and telling her all their horror stories from over the years. And it finished with something like, "And after all that, what you have is a life in the theatre." It was the way he said it - the way it summed up how an actor's life is really a lot of small moments with the occasional rare triumph, and how you do it in the long term because of the small stuff. And at the same time with the Lear actor obviously nearing the end of his life, finding resonances in that great play that only someone with that much age and experience can and seeing him literally live out the events of the play in his own life...

I guess that's what keeps me from really getting into "Smash". It's neat that they've taken the making of a musical and used it as the backdrop for a soap opera and it's fun to see your "thing" front and center in a big TV show, but at the same time I don't really feel like "Smash" is conveying anything about what it's really like to devote your life to making musicals other than the surface details. Which is fine for Prime Time TV, but it really makes you appreciate something like "Slings And Arrows" that not only gets the externals right (anyone who's done summer stock will agree that they nailed the experience of that perfectly) but also has a real, genuine emotional underpinning underneath it all. The same way something like "The Sopranos" did, where it was a Mafia series that really was about how a person handles the day-to-day of that and how it affects him as a person.

I'm not really seeing anything like that in what I've seen of "Smash", fun though it may be.
Gothampc
Broadway Legend
joined:5/20/03
Slings and Arrows
Posted: 4/10/12 at 04:12pm
"I know that bad/mediocre things happen and are successful all the time, but it just strained a bit of credibility for me that something so obviously insincere would do so well at such an otherwise good theatre."

I understand what your saying. Were you around NYC when Rent first began?

Rent began in an off-off Broadway theater. They were literally giving tickets away for free. Then its author Jonathan Larsen died and suddenly a media blitz propelled it to Broadway.

Even after it moved to Broadway, there was a vocal group of people who thought it was a musical about whiny kids who needed to get a job. Additionally, when Rent opened it was already outdated and the East Village that it portrayed no longer existed.

A huge marketing campaign and incentives (first two rows of theater for $20) helped make Rent a huge success. It was branded as theater for a new generation and would be the "Hair" for the new generation.

I don't think that Slings and Arrows was that far from reality. I'm not saying Rent is insincere, but having a woman encourage the audience to "moo" isn't high art.
If anyone ever tells you that you put too much Parmesan cheese on your pasta, stop talking to them. You don't need that kind of negativity in your life.
theaternut
Broadway Legend
joined:8/4/03
Slings and Arrows
Posted: 4/10/12 at 04:31pm
This sounds very interesting. Thank you so much for the heads up.
temms
Broadway Star
joined:7/21/04
Slings and Arrows
Posted: 4/10/12 at 05:38pm
I understand what your saying. Were you around NYC when Rent first began?

I was, in fact. I was blessed by the Gods of fate one night and managed to get a cancellation ticket to it at NYTW while on Spring Break my senior year of college, not knowing how sold out it was. They had announced it would move to Broadway, but there was no theatre yet so it still didn't seem like quite a done deal.

I loved it. It was unlike anything I'd seen in the musical theatre at that point. I remember the naysayers quite well - I had a discussion with someone on the subway on my way home from the show who noticed I had the program. She had seen the show a bit earlier, and was skeptical about it moving to Broadway. I remember her saying "They should just put it in an off-Broadway house and it would run forever. I think it'll just open and close on Broadway."

I also waited on line for many hours for a $20 seat not long after the Broadway opening, and repaid karma by having the last available seat taken by the person directly in front of me. I couldn't be too sad, all things considered.

So yes, I remember the Rent hype very well, but again, I feel there was a lot more sincerity behind it than in the "Slings and Arrows" version (I forget the title of it. Something Park, right?) I don't see how anyone other than stupid poseurs would really have loved that show as much as the audiences in the series did. It would have made for a more interesting contrast if the "low art" show were actually genuinely good on some level, instead of being a riff on the pearls-before-swine thing.

Especially since the commercially successful musical some of the folks who created "Slings and Arrows" later actually created was, in fact, a legitimately sincere effort that audiences honestly responded to (that being "Drowsy Chaperone.") To have something like that contrasted with the High Art of "King Lear" might have been more in line with the rest of the series.

As I said, a minor quibble about a truly great series.
TxTwoStep
Broadway Legend
joined:5/24/03
Slings and Arrows
Posted: 4/10/12 at 06:36pm
isn't there some crossover between the writers on SLINGS & ARROWS and DROWSY CHAPERONE as well?
Will: They don't give out awards for helping people be gay... unless you count the Tonys. "I guarantee that we'll have tough times. I guarantee that at some point one or both of us will want to get out. But I also guarantee that if I don't ask you to be mine, I'll regret it for the rest of my life..."
Gothampc
Broadway Legend
joined:5/20/03
Slings and Arrows
Posted: 4/11/12 at 09:46am
Bob Martin who co-wrote and performed in The Drowsy Chaperone was one of the writers of S&A. The other two writers of the show were Susan Coyne (who played the Executive Assistant) and Mark McKinney (who played the Managing Director)

Also, the dvds have interesting interviews with several of the principal actors of the show.
If anyone ever tells you that you put too much Parmesan cheese on your pasta, stop talking to them. You don't need that kind of negativity in your life.
temms
Broadway Star
joined:7/21/04
Slings and Arrows
Posted: 4/11/12 at 11:27am
Plus the theme songs (a different one for each season, reflecting the play they were doing that season) and the closing theme were written by Bob Martin, Lisa Lambert, and Glen Morrison, the "Drowsy" composers.
Elphie3
Broadway Star
joined:8/12/04
Slings and Arrows
Posted: 4/11/12 at 11:44am
Yes. Whatever you do - watch this!
Madame Morrible: "So you take the chicken, now it must be a white chicken. The corpse can be any color. And that is the spell for lost luggage!" - The Yellow Brick Road Not Taken
Plum
Broadway Legend
joined:3/4/04
Slings and Arrows
Posted: 6/4/12 at 08:05pm
Bob Martin has Tweeted that a Slings & Arrows revival is "more than a dream". I'm probably way overexcited, given how reunion projects like this tend to stay theoretical, but still. How wonderful would that be?
Slings might return
someone.else's.story2
Leading Actor
joined:3/18/07
Slings and Arrows
Posted: 6/4/12 at 08:29pm
YES!!!!! Such a wonderful show! If you haven't seen it, you must :)
I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being. ``oscar wilde``
Gothampc
Broadway Legend
joined:5/20/03
Slings and Arrows
Posted: 6/4/12 at 08:36pm
I would love to see another season of this. The previous three were so well done.

Sadly, Graham Harley, who played one of the duo that opens the show and plays all the thankless "comic fools" in the Shakespeare scenes, has passed away.
If anyone ever tells you that you put too much Parmesan cheese on your pasta, stop talking to them. You don't need that kind of negativity in your life.
Plum
Broadway Legend
joined:3/4/04
Slings and Arrows
Posted: 6/4/12 at 08:58pm
Oh, it won't be the same without the Statler and Waldorf of New Burbage.
followspot
Broadway Star
joined:12/27/11
Slings and Arrows
Posted: 6/4/12 at 09:09pm
All three seasons are presently streaming again on Netflix. :)
"Tracy... Hold Mama's waffles."
wonkit
Broadway Legend
joined:9/30/08
Slings and Arrows
Posted: 6/5/12 at 11:11am
One of the most enjoyable series ever! Looking forward to more.
Gothampc
Broadway Legend
joined:5/20/03
Slings and Arrows
Posted: 6/5/12 at 11:28am
I didn't realize until I read that article that the actress who plays Ellen is Paul's real wife.
If anyone ever tells you that you put too much Parmesan cheese on your pasta, stop talking to them. You don't need that kind of negativity in your life.
luvtheEmcee
Broadway Legend
joined:12/9/03
Slings and Arrows
Posted: 6/5/12 at 08:08pm
I watched the entire series in one day last summer. I loved it so much.
A work of art is an invitation to love.
Plum
Broadway Legend
joined:3/4/04
Slings and Arrows
Posted: 6/5/12 at 08:28pm
Wow, that's an impressive marathon, Em. And I say this as someone who mainlined the entire first season of Veronica Mars in 2.5 days. But it's just that great, isn't it?

Thanks for letting us know that the show is back on Netflix Instant, followspot. I'm about to start a rewatch simultaneously with a friend in Missouri who's never seen it before.
luvtheEmcee
Broadway Legend
joined:12/9/03
Slings and Arrows
Posted: 6/5/12 at 08:56pm
I had a fever while and was stuck at home (and it was already on Netflix Instant) so I figured I'd make the best of it! So good.
A work of art is an invitation to love.
Plum
Broadway Legend
joined:3/4/04
Slings and Arrows
Posted: 6/5/12 at 09:04pm
I had to go slower because I was watching with my parents, who just don't understand the benefits of watching TV for 10 hours straight.

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